MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

February 9, 2012

School bond issue on Hulbert ballot

Superintendent cites crowding in classrooms

— HULBERT— Pam Ellis has just enough classroom space for her prekindergarten pupils to take afternoon naps — but not much room for anything else.

“There are 20 students in here now, but we can definitely use a larger classroom,” Ellis said. “I take tubs of supplies from home. It’s kind of wall-to-wall now.”

Ellis’ classroom is one of four in raised portable buildings. Superintendent David Wilkins said several elementary classrooms are getting too crowded.

Hulbert Public Schools is seeking passage of a $1.72 million bond issue to help fund new elementary classrooms as well as a new athletic facility, a new roof and heating/air conditioning system for the auditorium and new heating/air conditioning for the gymnasium.

Polls for the bond election will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 14.

Wilkins said the bond issue would result in a 17.78 percent increase in property taxes. A property owner who now pays $100 in taxes would pay $17.78 more, for a total of $117.78. A property owner who pays $400 in taxes would pay an additional $71.12, bringing the total to $471.12.

Hulbert officials hope to use the bond issue for construction of an elementary building with eight classrooms and restrooms. Wilkins said it would be a domed structure that could double as a storm shelter.

The superintendent said he wants to move classes out of the portable buildings because they “are unstable in high winds.”

Several other elementary classrooms are in the auditorium building, and students have to cross a street to go to other classes, he said.

“When it was raining real hard last week, we had kids running to get to the classrooms,” Wilkins said. “All our classrooms are crowded. There is no extra classroom or office space.”

Wilkins said one classroom in the auditorium building cannot be used because the roof and ceiling leak so much. After a recent rain, custodians had to use ice chests as well as waste baskets to collect the water, he said.

The new athletic facility would feature locker rooms, a workout area and film viewing area, Wilkins said.

A proposed $2.5 million bond issue failed in 2010. Wilkins said that bond issue included a new cafeteria. He said the district is seeking a federal grant to fund a new cafeteria, which could double as a safe room in case of storms.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

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